Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sammy Yatim posed ‘absolutely no’ threat to police before being shot by officer, expert tells trial

TORONTO — In the seconds before he was shot and killed on a streetcar by Toronto Police Const. James Forcillo, teenager Sammy Yatim posed absolutely no threat to Forcillo or any of his fellow officers.

That devastating assessment came Wednesday at Forcillo’s trial from the key prosecution witness, Robert Warshaw.

A former police chief in Rochester, N.Y., and assistant chief in Miami, with extensive experience in both instituting and monitoring police reform, Warshaw is testifying here as an expert in use of force and lethal use of force by police.

He estimates he has reviewed “hundreds” of police-involved shootings in his 42-year career in law enforcement.

Asked by prosecutor Milan Rupic what level of risk he thought Yatim posed when Forcillo fired a first volley of three shots — he fired a second volley of six about five seconds later — Warshaw replied, “In my judgment, at that point in time, absolutely none.”

Eight of the nine shots hit Yatim, with one of the first volley severing his spine and paralyzing him from the waist down, and another, the lethal shot, irreparably damaging his heart.  (more...)

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